Lawyers for Donald Trump have officially moved to have his 2020 election case tossed out in Washington D.C.
The 52-page filing is a full-bore attack on prosecutor Jack Smith's unprecedented attempt to criminalize politics and turn the power of the state against an American president.
Trump's lawyers contend that all of the allegedly "criminal" acts in Trump's so-called conspiracy to subvert the election fall within the scope of his official duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" - namely, to ensure the integrity of federal elections.
While Trump and his legal team have often attacked the case as politically motivated, they took higher ground in their motion to dismiss, invoking a bold argument based on presidential power.
The alleged criminal acts in Smith's indictment, such as tweeting about election fraud and pressuring the Justice Department to investigate the alleged fraud, constitute official acts, they said.
"Ensuring the integrity of federal elections falls within the President's official duty," they wrote. "Similarly, taking steps to ensure that fraud and other irregularities do not vitiate the outcome of a federal election also falls within the President's responsibility."
While presidential immunity from civil damages has precedent, Trump's team said the same should apply to this unprecedented criminal case, to "ensure the President may serve unhesitatingly, without fear that his political opponents may one day prosecute him for decisions they dislike."
Failure to dismiss the indictment would expose all presidents to a "chilling effect" and "allow the President’s political opponents to usurp his or her constitutional role, fundamentally impairing our system of government."
While Smith has accused Trump of corruptly attempting to undo an election that he "knew" he lost, an allegation of a corrupt motive is not enough to break the shield of "absolute" presidential immunity.
This does not place the president "above the law," but rather, it simply means that the way to hold presidents accountable for crimes is through impeachment, Trump's lawyers claimed.
Since Trump was already acquitted of subverting the election by the Senate, there is no basis under the Constitution for proceeding with a prosecution for the same charges, they said.
It's a strong argument, but the odds of a favorable ruling seem low. The judge, Tanya Chutkan, is a blatant partisan who has refused to recuse herself, despite clear evidence that she has prejudged the case. She has yet to rule on Smith's audacious request for a gag order.
Trump has been preoccupied this week with a civil case in New York that could cripple him financially - and which he denounced as a continuation of "the greatest witch hunt of all time."
His lawyers also moved this week to dismiss the laughably bogus charges for "hush money" payments brought by Alvin Bragg.